By Elizabeth Cranford Garcia

Before the fist in your belly tightens,
pulls you from your deep blue sleep,
plucks the strings of your hunger,
a minor chord echoing down the hall,
I feel the burn of your need:

milk-hard breasts, wheelbarrows
heavy with river rock.
This is the weight of mercy,
the body’s need to empty itself,
to fill another.
(How could the bowel compare?)

And as you drink deep, gasping,
our skin becomes a veil, our cells
translating a language we
don’t need to understand,
your tongue, lapping, tells me
what you need, my body answers.
The truest kind of prayer:
the mouth, the open throat.

About Elizabeth Cranford Garcia

Elizabeth Cranford Garcia is the current Poetry Editor for Dialogue: a Journal of Mormon Thought, previous Poetry Editor for Segullah, and a contributor to Fire in the Pasture: 21st Century Mormon Poets. Her work has appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies, and her first chapbook, Stunt Double, was published in 2015 through Finishing Line Press. Her three small children compete with her writing for attention, and usually win.

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